Just in case ESPN isn't enough, Disney
Formed four years ago to cater to expatriates missing their American sports, NASN's reach is pretty slim at the moment. The network claims just 6 million subscribers in more than two dozen European countries. However, Disney wouldn't mind those juicy broadcasting rights, as well as a chance to vanquish the only European network dedicated to stateside sports.
It's pretty nifty timing for Disney. Football has started to gain steam in Europe as a result of the World Football League and traveling exhibition games. The NFL is in talks with several teams about hosting an actual regular-season gridiron contest in Europe soon, too.
ESPN itself is not generally available outside the United States, even though some local European networks team up with ESPN for certain events. Instead of the flagship network, Disney offers ESPN Classic Sport France, ESPN Classic Sport Italy, ESPN Classic Sport UK, and ESPN Classic Sport Europe to canvas the region with coverage.
ESPN is also a force in international sports online, acquiring the popular Soccernet.com site six years ago after it attracted 65 million visitors during Euro 2000.
Disney isn't just loading up on assets and rights, though. It sold off its minority stake in E! Networks to Comcast
Clearly, Disney knows how to play both offense and defense. It seems it's got plans to score abroad these days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family to amusement parks of all sizes, all over the country -- including Disney World several times a year. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. T he Fool has a disclosure policy.